DELAMERE Forest Golf Club has been a regular host of top county, regional and national competitions for many years.
The investments into the course over recent years have paid big dividends and they enjoyed being great hosts for the English County Ladies finals earlier in the year.
The club and their officials were delighted to receive the news that they have made it into the top 100 clubs in Great Britain and Ireland for the first time ever and have also gone up to be ranked 40th in England.
A five-year programme of course redevelopment proved to be a great success and the Greens Committee and the Delamere Board were the main movers in the redevelopment and were justifiably proud of what has been a real team effort by members, green staff and top experts in golf course development.
The original aim was to make the course longer but this was changed to being ‘longer and stronger’ and what was once called a ‘Hidden Gem’ is now known as ‘Fowler’s Cheshire Masterpiece’.
While they changed seven tee positions to increase the length of some holes as well as changing some of their angles they consulted Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert whose company has been involved in course work at top class venues such as Royal Portrush. Lytham St Annes and Royal St Georges.
One of the early developments involved the 81 bunkers of which 30 changed positions and 51 changed their contours to suit the modern game.
Another aim was to return the course to its heathland heritage and they brought in tree specialist John Nicholson in July 2017 for advice.
Following this were removed a substantial number of trees to improve ventilation and 90 per cent of the gorse on the course was removed by some terrific robot machines aiming to regenerate the heather on the course.
A lot of the work was carried out by the course manager Andy Ralphs, who has been at the club for over 30 years, and his team who were absolutely terrific in all that they did.
The 15th hole was also significantly changed with improved drainage, new bunker positions and the removal of a big bank of ground making a big difference when it is in play.
The work was completed in February with the new 15th hole opening in June 2018, some five and a half years after it was started, and all at the club and visitors are delighted with what has been achieved.
Among the competitions they will stage in 2020 are the Cheshire Strokeplay championships in the Centenary year of CUGC and the Cheshire Boys Championships, which they have hosted for the past 30 years and the Comboy Trophy for ladies.
(Article & Pictures G Garnett)